tv [untitled] March 9, 2012 3:30pm-4:00pm EST
there were people around her who really wanted her to fight on to denver. she had senior advisers like mark penn who didn't want her to actually drop out of the race, who felt like you could actually conceivably, something would happen to obama over the summer, in terms of negative information that might come out about him, that she might maintain her viability as a nominee. there were factions within her world about how to proceed. as you read from the book, she ultimately made the decision that she needed both for her sake wk for the party's sake, for everybody's sake she needed to not pursue that path and she needed to give a speech that would be a gracious endorsement of barack obama, but also one that would serve her interests. one that would make clear that she had run a historic campaign. one that would touch on -- there was so much -- she had initially run so much as the strong commander in chief, not as the woman, the historic candidate of women. she had not hit on those themes until very late in the campaign. once she found her way to that she had become like a real hero
for a lot of democratic women. she wanted to hit that theme in a very strong way. the glass ceiling line lives on. it lived on as you say to the point where sarah palin adopted it later. but it lives on to this day. i think she began the process by which when mark talked about barack obama and hillary clinton were enlarged by the fight, the fact it was not inevitable that would be the case for hillary clinton. if she had lapsed into bitterness, decided to fight on to denver, been some way stinting in her support of obama, it could have diminished her. instead she made a wise, and as i said before, gracious choice. wise tactically, strategically, wise in terms of her own future decision to really get behind barack obama and do whatever it was he asked and be as supportive as possible. that was the beginning of her seizing the mantle of self-enlargement in some ways. she ended up being a bigger figure by the end of the campaign than she was when she started. and she was a pretty big figure when it started. but it was the result of some
very important kind of fundamental decisions she had to make. and she made them, i think, in retrospect, you can't look back and do anything but applaud them. not just in the abstract but in the sense they served her ultimate interests in the best possible way. >> mark halperin, let's turn back to the republican race and john mccain. the answer to this might be pretty obvious. as john mccain was searching for a running mate, finally selecting sarah palin late in the process, my question to you is how much of that was a political decision and how much of it was a decision that john mccain truly felt that sarah palin was qualified to be vice president? >> well, that's a great question, steve. i'm not sure that we were able to get to the bottom of that sufficiently to answer it in the spirit in which you intended. it's clear they had a lot of political problems they needed to address. given that john mccain was being tied to george bush whose record at that point was unpopular with a large number of independent and centrist voters who would decide the election, they needed a game changing pick.
in a perfect world senator mccain would have found someone who would have been unambiguo unambiguously qualified to be president and also the game changing pick he wanted. most of the people he considered seriously, i think all men, would have been instantly seen as qualified to be president. sarah palin had a higher bar. she was unknown. she did not have the national experience, as john said before. she hadn't even been governor of a lightly populated state for all that long. i think it's pretty clear that senator mctan took into account the political considerations. i also, though, think it's clear that had sarah palin been given more time to prepare, had the campaign been given more time to prepare, outside of a handful of staffers, people working for senator mccain, even those in charge of figuring out how to launch his vice presidential pick didn't know about the choice, had they been given more time for those things and framed sarah palin as a maverick, someone who stood up to special interests, understood the real lives of real people based on her financial situation and family sitwaugs, i think she would have potentially been not just a strong political pick,
but a strong pick in terms of projecting the image of the ticket for governance. but she did have, as we show in the book and as the movie shows on hbo, she did have some real challenges that were exacerbated by the fact that she wasn't afforded sufficient time to prepare. >> john heilemann, on that point, lessons for any nominee selecting a running mate? you go back to dan quayle, he was thrust on the national stage. had been in the u.s. house and the u.s. senate but was not a well-known figure when george herbert walker bush selected him. and also what we saw in the campaign with john mccain and his selection of sarah palin. >> i think, steve, the overarching of all vice presidential selections is something mark alluded to. i think the best political pick is also the best substantive pick. i think that for a simple reason. i think most american voters don't make a decision based on
who is on the ticket. vice presidential nominees move through votes and only on the margins. most voters the way they look at the vice presidential pick is the first decision the nominee is making. they evaluate the decision as a reflection of the decisionmaker and how serious and scrupulous that nominee is being. so what they want to know, first and foremost is, has this nominee chosen someone who is, as mark put it, unequivocally qualified to be president. if you meet that bar, you've basically done everything you can do for yourself in a vice presidential pick. you think about someone like joe biden. you know, the choice was, whatever you think about joe biden, where you disagree with him or agree with him, there's very few people in the country who look at joe biden and don't say, this man's qualified to be president. same with dick cheney, in 2000, immediately answered the fundamental question. it said something important about both those presidential nominees, barack obama and george bush, they were taking this seriously. they wanted to have someone who could obviously succeed them if something happened to them in office.
i think that's a huge, important thing that voters look to as a question of their judgment. so i think that is the lesson going forward. if you satisfy that, you do yourself a world of good politically. i also think that the best way to do that is to have the kind of process that barack obama and george w. bush and other successful presidential nominees in this regard have had, which is a serious, rigorous, well executed vetting process. not something that's done on the fly. not something where there are surprises on the other end. you conduct this thing like a military operation. you try to answer every question in advance. you get serious people on it. give them enough time to do it properly so that nothing that comes up later turns out to be a jack in the box surprise either on the political level or the substantive level. those are the two key things. vet these guys and pick someone who is obviously in the minds of everyone qualified for the job from day one. >> let me follow up on two moments from the book and one we captured from the c-span archives as sarah palin accepted
the republican nomination in st. paul, minnesota, in 2008. >> i love those hockey moms. you know, they say the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? lipstick. [ cheers and applause ] so i signed up for the pta because i wanted to make my kids' public education even better. and when i ran for city council, i didn't need focus groups and voter profiles because i knew those voters. and i knew their families, too. before i became governor of the great state of alaska, i was mayor of my hometown. and since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the
job involves. [ cheers and applause ] i guess a small town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities. >> mark halperin, that moment captured in the book and the hbo movie. what was happening behind the scenes in team mccain? >> well, a lot. you know, the 60-day period from the time she was chosen through the election day was pretty packed. part of what attracted us to that story for the book and attracted hbo to focus on that part of the book for the film is a compact narrative of 60 days
in which so much happened. sarah palin as her supporters point out and is factually true, she performed extraordinarily well at the three biggest moments a vice presidential nominee has to perform. the day she was announced as the pick and gave a speech, the convention speech we just saw a bit of. then in the debate where she held her own for the most part against one of the most experienced politicians in our national government, joe biden. she at that moment, she was giving the speech there was a lot going on. her family was having to be integrated into a national campaign. they were all getting sort of new clothes and new briefings and understanding of dealing with the secret service. she was being briefed on how to get ready to do a round of national media interviews and in some ways to start preparing for the debate. and the mccain campaign was starting to realize that while they made some assumptions about what her level of knowledge would be to deal with national, international affairs, that there was going to be a lot of work that had to be done to get her up to speed to be able to get her through the debate, to
get her through those initial interviews with charlie gibson and katie couric. >> john heilemann, your thoughts on this period mark halperin was talking about? >> i was thinking more when you asked the first questions. i was thinking more about the more granular way, they put her out there on that speech up in st. paul on the convention stage in st. paul to give that speech. and though she had done well as mark said in her introduction speech, this was a much bigger deal. this was a national audience of many, many, tens of millions. and the pressure was extraordinary. and john mccain was watching backstage with a fair amount of nervousness. not because he didn't trust sarah palin, but just because she had never given a speech, very few people ever have, with that kind of focus on it with that kind of audience. as you will see in the film when people see in the movie, he's watching with mounting excitement as she gives this
speech. he can't believe how good she is and what a red light performer she's turned out to be. as he gets more and more excited, she finishes the speech and mccain is over the moon. and someone informs him, one of his advisers says, you know, i got to tell you, senator mccain, the most amazing thing about that is partway through the speech her teleprompter was malfunctioning and she was -- the prompter was moving too slowly. mccain looks at her and goes, oh, my god. i hope that doesn't happen to me. i'll be screwed if that happens to me. she not only performed under those circumstances. she had another handicap imposed on her by the technology. you can't really imagine the degree of pressure she was under or how much the campaign was on tender hooks as they watched her out there. and she really did. she hit it out of the park. their expectation coming out of that speech was that she was an unalloyed asset to the campaign. and for the week or ten days immediately after that, she was. on the democratic side there was a lot of concern as the mccain/palin ticket came out of that convention ahead of barack obama in the national polls by as much as five or six points. people on the democratic side
were sort of preek freaking out about the way she injected so much energy and so much freshness into that campaign. it wasn't really until some of her later stumbles and then the outbreak, the real collapse of the financial -- when the collapse of the financial crisis really kicked in that the game changed again. and the pick began to have some problems and complications that were hard for the camp -- the mccain campaign to deal with and the campaign gave obama the opportunity to rise to the occasion in dealing with the financial crisis in a way that made a lot of voters feel confident about his ability and temperament to deal with what was ahead. >> as you both know, during the debate preparation process, more potential stumbles for sarah palin as the mccain campaign trying to prepare her for that debate with vice president joe biden that was moderated by
gwynn ooifl. write that sarah palin continued to stumble over an unavoidable element, her rival's name. senator o'biden. three staffers suggested why don't you just call him joe? >> nice to meet you. can i call you joe? thank you. thank you, gwenn. thank you. thank you. >> so mark halperin, take us back to that moment. and your reporting on this book. >> well, it is a charming moment. because it's one of the rare moments where sarah palin seemed to my ear at least even a little bit nervous walking out on that stage. then as i said in the debate she did pretty well and found her voice. she did refer to him as o'biden in debate prep and the advisers were worried that would be branded as kind of a gaffe and illustration of her ability to think on her feet coming after the katie couric interview that she did. a series of interviews with katie couric that hadn't gone well and that had exposed for
some viewers and voters weaknesses in governor palin's ability, again, to think on her feet and to be knowledgeable about things. for most candidates it would just be seen as kind of a funny gaffe. they were worried it would take on larger symbolic meaning and criticis criticism if it happened in the debate. they said, call him joe. she said i don't know. how can i call him joe? so she decided to ask him for permission to do that. the irony is in the debate while she did sometimes call him joe, she did refer to him as o'biden. it didn't really get any attention at the time even though she made the very gaffe they'd been so concerned about. >> you are laughing, john heilemann. what's so funny? >> well, i just think -- it's just kind of a funny story. you aren't really sure whether the reason -- they were never sure whether she was conflating barack obama's name with joe biden's name and turning him into o biden like obama or whether because he's irish,
because of the irish association. i just think that it's funny that for all of the concern they had over it that she made that mistake and literally nobody noticed. you can go back and watch the tape of the debate and you'll hear her do that. i don't think there was any press coverage of it whatsoever. i don't think anybody mentioned it once. it's funny the way campaigns sometimes obsess over things. i understand exactly why they were obsessed over this, for the reasons mark said. but in the end, because she gave such a strong performance in that debate and had -- there were flaws to that performance for sure and ways you can poke holes into it. by and large she kind of fought joe biden who was thought to be not just a very experienced politician, but a solid debater, she fought him to a draw. in that context, given the concerns they had about her and some of the difficulties with her in debate prep, that was a huge win for her. because it went over so well and because she was broadly seen as having held her own against joe biden, the small error that they had been so concerned about was just completely overlooked. it's just -- the media dynamics are sometimes unpredictable as you know, steve. >> let me follow up on something that mark halperin talked about earlier.
the narrative of this book. it was a best-selling book now turned into a movie. but in terms of writing this book and the style in which you present to the readers, what were you thinking? >> well, we were thinking very much, it's funny when mark talked before about the genesis of the book, you know, the initial idea being let's try to make this as a movie. we both looked at each other and said neither one of us has ever written a screen play so that's probably not a good idea. but there was no question as we wrote the book that we wanted the book to have a sinmatic feel to it or novelistic feel to it. there's not a lot of back story in the book. we felt like because these candidates were so well known, we didn't have to take readers back to the arkansas governor's mansion in the case of the clintons or the beaches of waikiki in the case of barack obama or hanio hill in the case of john mccain. we wanted to tell the story in the moment as the -- as the candidates and the candidates'
spouses experienced it and try to tell an interior story about what they were going through as human beings in this extraordinary kind of flash incinerator meat grinder process that running for president is. and we wanted to have the pace of the book move from big scene to big scene. not with a lot of, you know, exposition and not with a lot of history. that was a very conscious choice we made. we wanted it to read like a screenplay in some sense and have big set pieces. have a lot of dialogue. we spent an extraordinary amount of time doing the research for the book and the reporting on the book trying to go back and re-create dialogue or at least be able to paraphrase dialogue as best we could because, again, we wanted it to be a human scale story. and one of the things mark said before that we had pretty much executed on what we thought. for better or for worse, we did. we ended up with a book that read to us in the end very much like we first imagined on that day sitting out on north capitol street in front of c-span. >> mark halperin, you indicated you want to duplicate the success that "game change" gave readers and you in 2008. are there lessons you take away from this book that you may apply to your reporting in this current race of 2012? >> well, just to do the things we did before to focus on the humanity of the story.
we said when we were talking to publishers and then we were talking to hbo about the option of the book and the rights of the book, we said don't think of this as a political story. think of this as a human story about couples and families and individuals putting themselves out in an incredibly competitive environment with a lot of scrutiny and a lot of -- a lot of hard-fought competition and pressure trying to achieve the same goal and there can only be one winner. and that was our focus, and that will be our focus again, to tell the story from a human point of view. not so much about polling or punditry or the process of accumulation of delegates, but rather the important question of what's it like on a human level to do this? and you saw in the last campaign a lot of great examples of that and compelling examples of that. you've got that already in 2012. and we're not done yet. >> let me conclude on that point. mark halperin, we'll stay with you. we're at the mid-point of this
republican primary. we don't know how it's going to end up. we don't know who the republican nominee is going to be and one of the lessons from your book in 2008 is to expect the unexpected. so size up campaign 2012 and what stands out so far. >> well, i think the wide-open nature of the republican race in the context of a tea party movement and on the other side an occupy movement, it really has created a much more inflamed environment than in any presidential election i've covered. and then you've got a series of republican candidates who have gone up and come back down. half a dozen people who were seen as at one time or another big rivals or the primary rival to mitt romney who's been kind of the constant all along. and then a lot of candidates who chose not to run. so you've got a republican field that's left many of the republican voters and elected officials and activists wanting, looking for the right person. and then, again, a president who proud of his record and is right that he inherited a lot of problems and dealt with them.
but at a time when the job situation, even with the improvements to the unemployment rate, is really the dominant and most important story of the day, how are we going to turn the economy around and deal with the unemployment rate, there's a lot going on in terms of the race is taking place. and as you said, we're not done yet. we don't know who the republican nominee is going to be. and i think it would be wise to not make any assumptions about that but to just watch it all play out. >> mark halperin, you have a title for the book yet? >> "heilemann and halperin project." we can't have a title until we know how it ends. we have a couple of guesses but . no firm total. "game change 2." if you like that. >> we'd like to call it "gamier, changier." >> your thoughts about where we are in this 2012 race and what we can expect moving ahead. >> well, you know, i think mark laid it out pretty well. you know, i think, you know, mark referred earlier to when we
were -- he was answering your question about how this nomination fight is affecting the ultimate nominee, whether that is mitt romney or rick santorum or newt gingrich or ron paul. there has been, i think in the republican party, this is one of these moments where there are deep kind of ideological and demographic factions within the party. so we've seen -- this is a party really in deep transition. you have a -- the coalition that has been behind mitt romney which is a more upscale coalition. the coalition that's behind rick santorum largely right now is a more religious coalition. the party is pretty deeply fractured. that doesn't mean the ultimate republican nominee can't win. but in the past if you think back to races where similar things have happened like 1976 between gerald ford and ronald reagan or 1964 and barry goldwater and nelson rockefeller, those have been hard races to win. when the fight goes on for a long time and deep divisions represented in the party it ends up often, if history tells us anything, kind of -- you ended up with a disunited party.
a debilitated nominee. i think it's going to be a challenge for whoever gets the republican nominee to overcome that in the face of the difficulty that always obtains when you have an incumbent in office. very difficult to beat an incumbent president. especially one if the economy is improving. in a measurable way, even if it's a small way. it's going to be hard. not impossible, but it's going to be hard and everything that barack obama was in a very bad place politically six months ago. when his approval rating was down to 39% and the economy still looked -- over the last six months, he's improved tick by tick in terms of the -- his approval rating, the right track/wrong track numbers are moving a little bit in his direction and the economy still seems to be getting a little bit better. now a lot of down side surprises that could happen. whether that's a spike in gas prices or some kind of -- some bad scene in iran, a collapse of some country or other in europe. there are many bad things that could happen. very unpredictable. but right now, obama is in a stronger position than he has been in a year and the
republicans are in a weaker position than in a year. but i think on both sides, and especially within the president's re-election team, they expect this to be a really, really close election. and that barack obama is not going to win 53%, 54% of the vote. it's going to be very tight. in any race like that, it's a deeply divided country we have. and both sides are going to be heavily mobilized. and in that kind of an environment it would be crazy to try to predict what the ultimate outcome will be but it's going to be fascinating to watch for those of us that care about politics. >> the book is entitled "game change," obama and the clintons, mccain and palin and the race of a lifetime. "game change 2" coming out after the 2012 campaign. our guests joining us from new york. john heilemann and mark halperin. thank you for being with us. >> steve, thank you. thank mr. brian lamb and thanks for c-span and all employees in the cable television industry for its gift to america. >> and ditto from me. this weekend, kansas holds its republican presidential caucuses and alabama and
mississippi have primaries on tuesday. today, mitt romney has a campaign stop at thompson tractor in birmingham, alabama. this morning, he held a town hall meeting in jackson, mississippi. rick santorum was in alabama with a campaign rally in mobile. this afternoon he'll go to kansas for campaign events in topeka and wichita. newt gingrich is staying in the south. he has three events today in mississippi and a rally aboard the "uss alabama." i believe it is yet possible we will come to admire this country not simply because we were born here, but because of the kind of great and good land that you and i want it to be and that together we have made it. that is my hope. that is my reason for seeking the presidency of the united states.
>> past candidates campaign for president this year, we look back at 14 men who ran for the office and lost. go to our website, cspan.org/the contenders to see video of the contenders who had a lasting impact on american politics. >> the leadership of this nation has a clear and immediate challenge to go to work effectively and go to work immediately to restore proper respect for law and order in this land and not just prior to election day, either. >> cspan.org/thecontenders. fire j. edgar hoover? i don't think the president could have gotten away with it. >> author and writer tim winer details hoover's fight against terrorists, spies and subversives. >> hoover stands alone, but he's like the washington monument. he stands alone like a statue encased in grime.
as one of the most powerful men whoever served in washington. 11 presidents, 48 years, from wilson to nixon. there's no one like him. and a great deal of what we know, or what we think we know about hoover is myth and legend. >> tim weiner on "enemies, a history of the fbi." sunday night at 8:00 on c-span's "q&a." this weekend there are two ways to watch the tucson festival of books on book tv. live on c-span2 and live online. on c-span2 saturday starting at 1:30, jeffrey rosen on the history of the supreme court. at 3:00, panels on forensic science. politics at 4:30 and mexico's drug wars at 6:00. sunday, panels continue starting with the environment, the great
depression at 2:30. at 5:30, studying the brain. throughout the weekend, look for coverage streaming live on booktv.org, saturday beginning at noon eastern and sunday starting at 2:30. that's live this weekend on c-span2 and booktv.org. in economic news today from the labor today, employers added 227,000 jobs last month. but the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 8.3%, because of workers who are entering the labor force. tax cuts passed under president bush and extended by president obama are slated to expire next year. an automatic spending cuts part of last summer's debt ceiling agreement kick in next year. testifying last week, chair ben bernanke who said these tax
increases and spending cuts could hurt the economy. his testimony was about 2 1/2 hours. >> there are reasons to be optimistic about our nation's economic recovery. the u.s. economy has expanded for ten straight quarters, and private sector employment has increased for 23 straight months. but there are also reasons to be concerned, such as a european debt crisis, and the continuing drag of the housing market on the broader economy.
this committee has paid close attention to these two issues and held numerous hearings. while we remain hopeful that we are moving in the right direction, we must continue to monitor the situation here closely. on housing, there are a variety of policy proposals, some that do not record an act of congress that should be considered to improve the housing market. i want to thank governor duke for her thoughtful testimony on tuesday before this committee and the federal reserve's white paper on options to improve the housing market. americans continue to grapple with higher fuel costs when they fill up their cars or heat their